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Broke College Kids Can Travel the World Too
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Broke College Kids Can Travel the World Too

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How To Travel the World While Still in College:

The travel bug hit me my freshman year of college. I do not know what it was, but I had this unexplainable urge to travel, and volunteer abroad. This desire is what landed me in Thailand the summer after my freshman year of school, and that trip forever changed my life. Since then, I have traveled from Hawaii to Vietnam, China, Mexico, and the Southwest and Northeastern regions of mainland U.S.A. There is something about exploring unknown territories that has me addicted. The feeling of being in a completely new region or country lights something up in my soul that I cannot go very long without tapping back into. With that being said, I have learned a thing or two about breaking free from the typical anchored college life and hope this can help spark some ideas on how you too can live your dreams of traveling the world while still in school!

So, you want to travel, and by travel you mean fly around the world experiencing new cultures, sites, and people. You want the type of travel that goes deeper than sipping drinks at a poolside resort. The type of travel where adventure is the only driving force that gets you through those should I laugh or cry moments. That is the travel that I live and breathe, so I am glad we are on the same page because that is THE BEST type of travel to throw yourself into while in school. So where to begin? The first and most important aspects of planning a trip of this kind is… finances.

I know you want to be free and travel the world without a care, but making sure you have sufficient funds to do so is crucial. A lot of people totally disregard traveling abroad for the fear of the expenses. “I am a broke college student,” is the typical excuse for why people do not take charge of their desires. But I am here to tell you that I have been a broke college student traveling the world! It IS possible! All it takes is some planning, budgeting, and self control and you will have a nice stash of funds in no time to experience the freedom of wandering the world.

The first piece of advice I want to give on financing your trip is to understand how badly you want to travel. Desire is a very strong energy that can drive anyone who is willing to honor that dream. If you want to travel to a new country bad enough, you WILL make it happen, and no amount of money is going to stop you because you will be willing to give up a few luxuries for the trade off of experiencing a new region. For me, as soon as I know I want to go to a new country, my weekends of spending money eating out stop and are switched to packing snacks or meals for the beach instead. It is all about compromise when it comes to saving for a trip. You can go out and spend a hundred dollars on some clothes, and another hundred on that new speaker you want, and another chunk of money on something else, or, you can control those spending impulses and buy a plane ticket to Singapore instead. You may not realize it, but buying lunch out a few times a week  add up quickly. I like to look at it this way, one $4 coffee a day means that for the year you spent $1,460 on coffee. That amount of money could cover an entire trip to Thailand FOR A MONTH! You see what I mean here? If you get into the mindset of being very frugal with your money during the semesters, even something as small as giving up one thing everyday you would typically buy for $5, a lot of saving can be accomplished. If you are willing to give up some typical luxuries that you want but do not necessarily need, you would be so surprised at how much money you can save.

The next biggest tip for traveling in college on a budget is to get a part time job during the semesters for a little extra income. I know this sounds like a no brainer, but I have come across a lot of individuals who just rely on loans or other financial aid until they graduate and can pay off school that way. Even if you do not think you can handle working a full time job while in school, 20 hours a week working anywhere for two semesters will allow you enough funds to go on a fun trip during the summer or on a break to… well I will talk about that later. But definitely finding a way to work during the semesters is the best way to become financially stable enough to fund your own trip. It is all about balance and budgeting. If you have class during the day, you can work in the restaurant industry at night. Or if you can plan far enough ahead I used to take classes only Tuesday/Thursday so that I could work the other days of the week. Weekends are also free time you may have to compromise in order to save up for that dream. I guess the thing here is that if you want to go somewhere bad enough, make it happen!  You may need to stay up a little later doing homework every night, or give up a weekend day or two, but the prospect of giving up time now to spend it doing something you love later is what got me through the tedious balance of being a full time student and working 30+ hours a week. Staying organized is key, especially when balancing so much, but it is possible! Keep your dreams in sight and do not let anything stop you from making them happen.

The last tip I have for traveling on a budget in college is to pick destinations that are CHEAP! Spending a week in Los Angeles is going to cost you a lot more than a week in say Bangkok, Thailand. If you can find a country that has a relatively low cost of living, you will be able to stay much longer and do a lot more than in a country where you have to spend $10+ on every meal out. The countries I have been to so far that are sooooo affordable include Thailand, Vietnam, and Mexico. I would recommend any of these amazing countries. In Thailand you can get decent lodging for as cheap as a few bucks a night (yes we are talking $2-$5 a night) and if you want to splurge on a 5 star hotel in Vietnam you are looking at about $40 a night. A STEAL! And traveling with friends always makes for a less expensive trip because you can split hotel rooms, ubers, etc. When I was in Vietnam a 30 minute uber cost me about $5 which in the U.S. could go as high as $60. In Mexico, a similar story can be told. A nice hearty meal would cost you about $3. Think about how many tacos you could eat!! The key here is that plane ticket prices can cost you about the same regardless where you go. If we are looking at say a trip to Indonesia compared to France, the amount of money you will spend on the trips can be INSANELY different. So pick destinations where your hard earned cash can be extended a lot further. And that is a wrap! Let me know if you have any questions about traveling in college on a budget! Stay stoked!

 

Lauren :)